Things I'm Thankful for: Reflections on Running a Small Business

by Nathan Eklund

I love Thanksgiving. No shopping. Just really delicious food while being surrounded by people you love. Delicious! I also like counting my blessings. I really do. I like the process of auditing everything I have to be thankful for. In that spirit, I was thinking about all I have to be thankful for within the space of running my business. Here’s my Top 10 list of things I’m thankful for within Eklund Consulting:

1.  Being teamed up with really smart, talented people.

This one tops the list. My own team of people is passionate, skillful, dogged about results, and gracious. I’ve hit the jackpot and I love it. (Here’s looking at you Scott, Todd, Lesley, Keith, Lily, and Chelsea.)

2. Clients who say “thank you.”

3. Clients who return emails in a timely fashion.

4. Other small business owners and entrepreneurs in my life who guide, cajole, encourage, question, and advise me. (Here’s looking at you Andy, J., Jake, Bruce, Eric, Kari, Adam, Jon, Omar, and Derek.)

5. Clients who have the guts, humility, faith, and patience to opt to take the messy and meaningful route.

6. A spouse who is willing to be married to someone who doesn’t do well having a “real job.” 

Guessing anyone who has started a business or is bitten by the entrepreneurial bug gets this one. Here’s looking at you, Erika.

7. Controlling when enough is enough. Enough work. Enough time. Enough security. And so on.

8. The gift of humor. 

A lot of our work is stressful. We’re often working with people willing to take a hard and honest look at themselves. And sometimes a really hearty laugh is the only way to get through it.

9. Always learning and improving.

We’re never done. We’re always able to do better the next time. We’re always able to learn from and with the people and places where we’re fortunate to be doing our work.

10. Making a living doing something I believe in.

At the end of the day, we’re unapologetically trying to change things for the better. We believe that our work will have tangible and long-term benefits, the sorts of improvements where the family and friends of the people we work with will feel the improvements too. That’s an easy way to get out of bed everyday.

So, there you have it. An incomplete but sincere Top 10 list. We wish you a quiet, reflective, and lovely Thanksgiving. Make sure you say out loud the good things you’re thinking about others. Onward!